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Master’s Degree Helps Burd Achieve CEO Goal

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David Burd has dedicated his entire career to the healthcare field, after discovering it was the right fit during a college internship. “I have always felt ‘at home’ in the healthcare industry,” he said. “What other industry allows you to make a difference in people's lives regardless of whether you are in a clinical or non-clinical position?”

After more than a decade in a senior administrative position, he set his sights on a new goal: CEO. Since earning his Master of Health Administration (MHA) at Bellevue University in 2016, he’s achieved that goal. In fact, he will step into the role of President and CEO of Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital in Council Bluffs, Iowa, this July.

The Path to CEO

Burd knew that an MHA would be essential to reaching the CEO level. “As I advanced through my career and began to have aspirations of being a hospital CEO, I recognized the need to obtain a MHA in order to achieve my goal,” he said.

As he began researching schools, Bellevue University’s program fit all his criteria. “At the time, I was employed at the Nebraska Hospital Association, which has a strong partnership with Bellevue University,” he said. “In addition, I was searching for an affordable and high-quality program that was provided online with the ability to obtain my degree quickly.”

The Online MHA ExperienceEarning a master’s degree online was quite different from the experience Burd had obtaining his bachelor's degree at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. However, he said, despite the different mode of learning, he made strong connections.

“I had a great experience at Bellevue University and really enjoyed and valued the many interactions with my professors and fellow students,” he said. “The professors at Bellevue University are very knowledgeable, with extensive hands-on experience. Even in an online program, you really get to know your fellow students, as you share several classes together.”

Burd said the experience would be a great one for anyone interested in an MHA. “I would recommend the MHA program at Bellevue University for several reasons, including the well-rounded curriculum, talented and experienced professors, affordability, and overall commitment to students' success,” he said.

Ready to Lead

Burd feels his MHA prepared him well to lead Jennie Edmundson, a 230-bed regional healthcare center serving about 250,000 residents in western Iowa and employing over 560 full-time and part-time employees, as well as a medical staff of nearly 170 physicians.

“In today's competitive workplace, most executive level positions require a master's degree, as did my new role,” he said. “In addition to meeting the educational requirement of the position, obtaining an MHA through Bellevue University ensured that I was well-rounded from both an educational and experience perspective.”

As a CEO, Burd looks forward to making an impact for the hospital, its patients and the area at large. “I have had the opportunity to work with some awesome people, that are incredibly talented and passionate about what they do, that have had a significant impact on my career path,” he said.

“My journey toward healthcare administration has been guided by the desire to truly have a positive impact on the lives of patients and staff and on the entire community.”